The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

They’re Free to Be Spendthrift With Their Own Money


One item in today’s Jolt is the reaction to the nuptials of a former First Daughter:

My lone thought on Chelsea Clintons’ wedding until now was, “well, that’s nice.” But apparently some folks are deeply bothered by the nuptials, particularly the cost.

Doug Ross is up in arms, quoting his wife’s lament that, “they had to hold an over-the-top, massive celebration when the American economy is suffering.” and Don Surber echoes, “Chelsea Clinton blew $5 million on a wedding while her father raises money for Haiti. Shouldn’t charity begin at home?”

Well, the Clintons gave $10 million to charity between 2001 and 2008. Most of that is to the Clinton Foundation, and there have been some who griped that some of the donations seemed timed and targeted for political benefit, there’s little dispute that the causes are worthy.

But even if the Clintons were misers, this is their money. They only have one child; presuming Chelsea never divorces and remarries, this is it for them. Can you blame them for pulling out all the stops?

I gripe about the Kobe beef and quail egg appetizers at Obama fundraisers, but that’s because he’s still a public servant living in public housing at the moment, and ostentatious displays of luxury from an elected leader during year three of a recession rankle. But Bill Clinton’s out of office and nobody elected Chelsea to anything. Chelsea’s never claimed to be a woman of the people, or salt of the earth, or humble or anything. For most of her adult life, she’s lived her life and avoided the public spotlight. So if her parents can afford it, why shouldn’t she get the cake that costs more than some cars and pull out all the stops? You know that a large chunk of the guest list is her parents’ friends, anyway . . .

I appreciate the sweet reaction of . . . Robert Stacy McCain. Really. “Don’t let these complaints spoil your happiness, Chelsea. A girl as sweet as you deserves a shameless capitalist wedding. And in the spirit of true bipartisanship, please give my best regards to your Mom and Dad and tell them if they’re thinking about a Democratic primary challenge to Obama in 2012, I’ll be happy to start Operation Chaos II.”

Tags: Bill Clinton , Chelsea Clinton


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